Subject: Re: Jordan, Part 2
Hi Gail,

Thank you for your response.

>As with travel anywhere, there are options ranging from the most tightly-organized itinerary to educational trips to the go-with-the-flow plan. For your
>first (& I suspect not your last) foray into this area, an organized group might make you feel more comfortable.

We try and keep away from organised bus trips as they invariably take us to sites that we either, want to spend more time at, or do not wish to visit anyway. Also the arrival of the bus usually coincides with other tour parties, thereby creating queues and congestion. We prefer to visit sites in our own time, usually early in the morning or later in the evening. We also would rather travel independently and meet locals along the way. Unfortunately, because of the cost factor, we usually tend not to re-visit countries, but choose new destinations. To fly from Christchurch to a European destination, it costs in the vicinity of $2,500 - $3,000 each, plus there is a total flying time of 25 hours, with a few hours stopover in Singapore. Many years my wife and I took a 30 day bus tour with a well known tour company, visiting seven countries. We were herded like cattle and treated like children. I have nothing against this company, in fact the tour director was very knowledgeable, but we had to keep to a very tight schedule. One thing the bus tour did for us was to let us see some countries that we wished to return. Now we tend to pick one or two countries and spend our time seeing as much as we can, with the aid of a rental car. A friend of mine in Dunedin, with the help of Gretchen Fifer, has booked with a Travel Agency in Istanbul. Apparently the 14 day tour that he is on, leaves Istanbul on alternate days. You are able to leave the bus and catch another one when it comes through. This sounds like a great idea as you are still left with an independent itinerary, except for the bus. Also some one on this list, I can't remember who, suggested a 'Hop on and Hop off' bus company in Turkey. At the time I was not interested, but since the talk of the Middle East, I looked it up and found that this was an excellent choice also.

Gail can you suggest an itinerary for us first timers in Jordan. I assume that we will be flying into Amman and rent a car at the airport. We will probably spend about 12 days in Jordan. We both love meeting and photographing people. Also we do like tramping, although a 'bum' knee stops me from taking long hikes. Both of us also take great pleasure in visiting and taking photographs of old buildings, which includes castles and forts. Gretchen kindly send me some web sites which included some of the Crusader castles in the desert. These would be a must for us to see. Archaeological digs are also one of our favourites. Once again thank you for your assistance.

Regards, Richard Bloomfield.(New Zealand)